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Acta Neuropathol. 1992;84(4):372-7.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with ophthalmoplegia and multisystem degeneration in patients on long-term use of respirators.

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Department of Neurology, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


We describe two patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who had developed progressive external ophthalmoplegia of a predominantly supranuclear type while they survived on respirators, and displayed histopathological abnormalities both typical and atypical of ALS. Patient 1 was a 43-year-old man with ALS of 5-year duration, who had initially exhibited fulminant ALS, and remained on a respirator for 4 years. Patient 2 was a 51-year-old man with ALS of 13-year duration, who remained on a respirator for 8 years. Both patients died in a "totally locked-in state". Autopsy of both patients revealed not only histopathological abnormalities consistent with ALS, but also multisystem degeneration which involved the pontine tegmentum, substantia nigra, Clarke's dorsal nuclei and spinocerebellar tracts. In addition, Patient 2 displayed intracytoplasmic neuronal basophilic inclusion bodies which exhibited marked immunoreactivity to anti-ubiquitin antibodies. Our case reports indicate that the longer survival which is possible through the use of respirators may make one subgroup of ALS patients prone to develop atypical clinical and neuropathological features which are not observed during the natural course of ALS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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